Lethbridge families reflect on adjusting to COVID-19 over summer as back to school approaches

Click to play video: 'Summer during a pandemic: Lethbridge families recount their extra-long breaks' Summer during a pandemic: Lethbridge families recount their extra-long breaks
WATCH ABOVE: The start of the school year is just around the corner in Lethbridge, and there are mixed feelings about the end of summer holidays. Eloise Therien spoke to some local families to find out how they were spending their last weekend of freedom – Aug 31, 2020

Sept. 1 marks the first official day of the 2020-21 school year for most students in Lethbridge’s K-12 education system.

While not all will be returning to classrooms in person, families took full advantage of their final weekend of summer break.

Raelene Pyret and her kids decided to make a trip to Park Lake Provincial Campground to wrap up the season.

“They both caught their first fish this summer, so that was a big highlight for our family,” Pyret said.

Read more: After-school programs an ‘afterthought’ in COVID-19 guidelines, advocates say

Micah Pavan said her family has spent much less time indoors than usual, with her son trying out skateboarding for the first time two months ago.

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“We’ve definitely spent way more time outdoors this summer,” Pavan said. “[We] really explored our city and found lots of fun things to do here in Lethbridge and Alberta.”

Pavan added that while the family usually spends a majority of their vacation in Montana, the unexpected cancellation of those plans turned out to be positive.

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“It’s been fun to have to look around for fun things to do,” she said.

Read more: Parents’ lawsuit seeks to block B.C.’s back-to-school plan, calls students ‘guinea pigs’

Matthew Atjay, a father of four, said the pandemic has impacted his children’s ability to socialize during the summer months, so a return to school is a welcome thought.

“They were positive about it,” Atjay said. “They were just sad that they couldn’t see their friends and socialize like kids usually always do.”

The Lethbridge School Division is expecting around 83 per cent of its students to attend in-person classes, while 17 per cent will participate in at-home learning through a cohort system.

The Holy Spirit Catholic School Division will see around 600 students stay home to learn, with 86 per cent returning as normal.

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